Interview with Press To Meco

Before they embarked on their trip up to Donington Park to open Download Festival's Zippo Encore Stage on the Saturday we caught up with alternative trio Press To Meco. We talked One Direction, Red Bull Bedroom Jam, and why Scuzz TV have tipped them to be avant-garde. Read that and more right here.

Firstly, how would you sum up Press To Meco in a few words?

Well we’ve been asked this quite a lot, so I think we’ve perfected the answer. The older stuff sounds like Meshuggah and One Direction’s love-child. So if they mated with each other, maybe our stuff is somewhere along those lines (laughs).

HMV tipped you guys as one of the top 20 bands to see at Download Festival this weekend. How did that feel?

It was amazing. Its really cool to know that such a large chain and influence tips you up there with larger bands that we’ve looked up to for ages, such as Linkin Park. I don’t think there’s anyone that didn’t listen to Hybrid Theory.

Your slot at this year’s Download is opening the Zippo Encore Stage on the Saturday. How did it feel when you found out you were not only playing Download Festival again, but a slot as big as that?

Well I had to keep looking at the email we got through over and over again! We were all doing backflips and stuff about the fact we’d been invited back, but then our manager said it might be the second stage and we said ‘What!? No way!’. It was just insane. I think this year we’re a lot more excited and anxious to play. This year it was our first major festival we’d played and had no idea what to expect; all the silly things you worry about, you realise its just the same as any other gig. Everything’s going to be absolutely fine, its just the big spectacle that its Download.

Do you find it more difficult to interact with the crowd at a festival as the crowd seem miles away from you?

Its weird as you’ve got the equivalent of two venues this size between you and the crowd. So its going to be different, but it still feels the same! Well, it did last time. We’re used to almost eskimo kiss the crowd when we play (laughs). So yeah, its going to be crazy!

Do you think you’ll be able to top last year’s set!?

Easily! We’re always improving. When we played that set last year it was from our last EP, the Affinity EP that we released. That was still very fresh. It had only been gigged a few times. This time we’ve done a lot of tours since then so we’re a lot more comfortable. Last time it was sort of two weeks before that we were in. So this year we’re prepared and we’ll get it together.

Last year you had the opportunity of playing at Download because of the Red Bull Bedroom Jam. How has it impacted upon the band apart from playing at last year’s Download Festival?

Well we’ve met our friends that are supporting tonight, Fizzy Blood. We’ve also played with bands that were in the top 15 with us as well. In ways of how it directly affected the band though; so many eyes are on that competition, especially as there were changes in it not being the standard Bedroom Jam last year. A lot of people entered, and eyes were centred on the final 15. So for your name just to come up in those 15 bands out of hundreds of bands was something we’re extremely grateful for. Just from that alone we got so many people finding out about us. It was really nice actually as a lot of bands that didn’t get through, we became a band they checked out and liked, and jumped on board and tried to support us, which again we were really grateful for.

The current rock/alternative/metal scene that you’re in at the moment, what are your thoughts?

Well there’s good and band in every scene. I think there’s a lot of cloning of bands and a lot of clichés. Some bands don’t seem to do things off their own back and create their own sound. Creativity’s been lost a bit. Its all very well having your idols and favourite bands, but if you’re only ever aspiring to sound like those bands then just play their songs. But I guess there’s that element of everyone does it for fun. If you want to play your favourite band’s songs and sound like them then its all good. But we’ve always done our own thing and haven’t had any sort of bench mark as to what we should sound like.

Do you think its harder to be in a band today than it has been previously?

Its the sort of thing if you don’t have the love for it then its going to die out. Its really a test to see what makes or breaks a band. You get to a stage where you find you’ve really got to commit 100%. Some bands fall out because they’ve got girlfriends, money to pay for rent etc. But its the bands that persevere that will stick around.

Do you think there are any bands from our generation that could get to an incredibly high level such as The Rolling Stones from the last generation?

I’m not sure in terms of stadium rock. There are a lot of bands around. But for me in terms of idols, such as The Dillinger Escape Plan, for the whole ideology of the band and the way they’re DIY and their whole ethos for what the band is about. I think it should be a role model for any band, whether you like the music or not.

SikTh are one of the most important metal bands the UK has ever given as they’re responsible for so much. Everyone’s tracking back to them for the genre they inspired. There’s a lot of modern bands who are replicating their sound. They’re bigger now than they ever were. Its really awesome to see. I hope we can get in the tent to see them at Download! Its going to be insane.

You mentioned about creating your own sound. You guys have exquisite three-part harmonies. Where did the idea for that originate from?

Its something that’s always been there. We’ve always liked it sonically. The vocals were just there in the fore front and was always the idea. The vocals were going to be the key to the band. There’s bands like System Of A Down, which is a weird one to think of, but they really opened my eyes to the idea of having duel vocals with more than one person taking the lead to a song. When I say that to people its always a weird one as you wouldn’t put them first for big vocal arrangements. Its very much just high and low harmonies. But just to open your eyes to having more than one singer is an idea we’ve always liked. Its like when the guitarist from System Of A Down came forward to almost be another frontman and it wasn’t just Serj. That’s really where the boy band element comes in as the vocals are more common to that of One Direction. I’d say Blue but they haven’t been around for ages! (laughs).

Would you say your harmonies make the writing process easier or harder?

We generally get the music down first and then we draw the melodies from that really! You’ll have the main basis for the melody, and then after that the harmonies will come. You can sort of hear the harmonies in the music. You’ll write your chorus and verse, and then its more of a decorating thing. We get a bit carried away and it ends up sounding like it does (laughs).

Scuzz TV recently said you guys have an ‘avant-garde, genty vibe’. How accurate is this description of Press To Meco?

Well I mean the elements are definitely there! To say we’re ‘avant-garde’ though; I don’t think we’re anything revolutionary! Its really cool though that people think its unique. I think there are elements there of a ‘genty’ vibe. When we write riffs, its almost we’re writing five seconds of a part of a song we like. We get inspired to re-create a kind of sound. Its just really nice to hear something like that. I think its kind of accurate in a way; definitely with our older stuff anyway.

Your recent track ‘Autopsy’ you decided to put our via a Pledge page. Why did you decide to do that?

Its just more incentive for the Pledge Campaign really making it an exclusive track and selling point. We’ve only just released a video so there’s not much point doing something else straight away. Its just cool to leak some stuff out because we’re busy writing! We can’t gig as much as we’d like to, so we’re just keeping our presence up.

Talking of videos, your music videos are completely bonkers, but in a brilliant way. Where do you get your inspiration from?

It goes completely parallel with the music really. We’re quite a marmite band. People either really like it or really hate it. We always want to create something you maybe haven’t heard before, even if its just a tiny bit different from what you’re used to listening to. We’re really lucky to have this guy Lewis who we exclusively do videos with at the moment, and he’s just as silly as we are, so we get on really well creatively. He’s really good at just bouncing ideas back and forth. So we always end up with something ridiculous!

Finally, what else does 2014 have in store for you guys?

Its mainly writing and finishing off our album. We’ve got a tour in August coming up. Other than that its just one-off shows. We’ve got Redfest and a couple of other festivals too! Next year is going to be really heavy touring. But this year we just need to get this album all done, and that’s basically it!

Also, can we just say that there’s a free download of our track ‘Family Ties’ on our website and you can get ‘Autopsy’ via our Pledge site!

Scribbled by:

Music Journalist to be, gig-goer and mosh-pit enthusiast, who will head bang to any heavy riff you throw my way. Basically, if I'm not listening to music, then I'm doing it wrong.

Follow me on Twitter at @emyoungerr